Gems

Though the intaglio dates to the days of Roman Britain (43 to 410 A.D.), the silver seal that holds it was likely made in the 13th or 14th century.

Cool Finds

Silver Medieval Seal Featuring Engraved Roman Gem Unearthed in England

The rare artifact depicts war god Mars and Victoria, the mythological personification of victory

Zircons are the oldest minerals in the world and come in colors like the rich blue above. Researchers have now used these gemstones to identify when modern plate tectonics began.

Smithsonian Voices

Earth's Oldest Minerals Hold Clues About the Likely Start of Plate Tectonics

New research reveals how one of Earth’s defining geologic features likely formed—and set the stage for the emergence of life

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Smithsonian Voices

How the World's Largest Aquamarine Gem Came to Be

The Dom Pedro Aquamarine is one of the largest mineral crystals found inside Earth's rocks

Smithsonian gemologist Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) meets her colleague, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman 1984, which was filmed at three Smithsonian museums.

How 'Wonder Woman 1984' Was Filmed at the Smithsonian

The blockbuster saw the superhero working as a museum anthropologist. But how accurate was its depiction of the Institution at the time?

Kamala Harris wears her signature pearls as she accepts the vice-presidential nomination at the August 2020 virtual Democratic National Convention broadcast from Wilmington, Deleware.

Why Kamala Harris' Pearls Have a Special Significance

The vice president-elect's ties to her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, run deep, and her jewelry lets that shine

The original photos from late 1800s by famous snowflake photographer Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, are stored in the Smithsonian Archives. His pictures were instrumental in helping scientists examine snow’s crystalline properties.

Smithsonian Voices

Why Scientists Find Snowflakes Cool

Mineralogists study snowflakes to learn more about how water in its solid phase behaves

A poem providing clues to the location of a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels inspired thousands to search the Rocky Mountains.

Cool Finds

Decade-Long Search for Rocky Mountain Treasure Yields Trove Worth $2 Million

Nine clues embedded in a 24-line poem led to art dealer Forrest Fenn's hidden chest of gold, gems and rare artifacts

Opalised fossils from Lightning Ridge, N.S.W, Australia. From the collection of the Australian Opal Center.
Clockwise from top left: freshwater snail; plesiosaur tooth;
crocodile tooth; pine cone; pelvis bone of ornithopod
dinosaur. Donated through the Australian Government’s
Cultural Gifts Program by (respectively) Down to Earth
Opals, Timothy Seekamp, Stephen Turner and Michael Poben.

Scientists and Miners Team Up to Preserve Opalized Fossils

An ambitious collaboration between paleontologists and a local mining community seeks to conserve the rare fossilized remains

The study's authors outline three possible scenarios for the unusual fossil's formation

Cool Finds

This 100-Million-Year-Old Squid Relative Was Entrapped in Amber

The ancient ammonite was preserved alongside the remains of at least 40 other marine and terrestrial creatures

The 8.5-millimeter millipede had five-unit compound eyes and an unusually hairless rear end

Cool Finds

This Petite, 99-Million-Year-Old Millipede Was Entrapped in Amber

The diminutive arthropod represents not only a previously unknown species, but an entirely separate Callipodida suborder

Gemologist Brian Berger purchased the Indonesian opal last year

Cool Finds

Gemologist Finds Insect Entombed in Opal Rather Than Amber

The unusual specimen appears to contain an open-mouthed insect complete with 'fibrous structures extending from the appendages'

What makes the Whitney Flame topaz such an astonishing acquisition is its homogeneous fiery-red. “We recognized right away that this is something different than we’d ever seen,” says Smithsonian gems curator Jeff Post.

The Whitney Flame Topaz Smolders in Vibrant Red

A new gemstone at the Natural History Museum is already igniting wonder in viewers

Cool Finds

The Odyssey of the World's Largest Freshwater Pearl

The gem, which was was recently bought at auction, was likely found in China in the 1700s and was once owned by Russia's Catherine the Great

The 910-carat diamond discovered in Lesotho

Cool Finds

World's Fifth-Largest Diamond Found in Lesotho

The 910-carat gem is a D-color, type-IIa stone, meaning it is completely colorless and has no visible impurities

For the first time, scientists have created near-perfect cubic zirconia replicas of the diamond in its previous forms. From left to right: the original brought from India, King Louis XIV’s “French Blue” and the Hope Diamond.

Now There Are Near-Perfect Copies of the Hope Diamond

Scientists created cubic zirconia replicas of the historic gem's previous forms—the original brought from India and the famous "French Blue"

The Koh-i-Noor diamond set at the front of the crown made for the Queen Mother Elizabeth, set on her coffin in April 2002.

The True Story of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond—and Why the British Won't Give It Back

A star of London’s Crown Jewels, the Indian gem has a bloody history of colonial conquest

Monty Claw with a section of his jewelry works.

Meet the Artists Displaying at This Year’s Santa Fe Indian Market, the Largest Juried Native Art Show in the World

The annual show brings together some of the country’s best traditional and contemporary artists

Even the strongest hands might get tired wearing a 59.6-carat pink diamond.

Trending Today

This $71.2 Million Diamond Just Set a New World Record

The flawless stone has a new owner—and a new name

Nördlingen is located in a crater in southern Germany.

Europe

This German Town Is Embedded with Millions of Tiny Diamonds

Scientists estimate that Nördlingen and the surrounding area contain approximately 72,000 tons of the gemstone

Why Tomb Raiders Treated This Priceless Gem Like Trash

Why would grave robbers break into the King of Xuzhou's tomb and leave its most priceless jade treasure behind?